Is reverse shoulder arthroplasty a reasonable alternative for revision arthroplasty?

Luke Austin, Benjamin Zmistowski, Edward S. Chang, Gerald R. Williams

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

66 Scopus citations


Background Reverse shoulder arthroplasty (RSA) improves function in selected patients with complex shoulder problems. However, we presume patient function would vary if performed primarily or for revision and would vary with other patient-specific factors. Questions/purposes We compared (1) the shoulder scores and (2) complications in patients with RSA for revision arthroplasty with patients who had RSA as a primary procedure; and (3) identified patient-specific factors that affect (1) and (2). Patients and Methods We retrospectively compared 28 RSAs for failed arthroplasty with a control group consisting of 28 primary RSAs. We determined the Penn Shoulder (PENN), American Shoulder and Elbow Surgeons (ASES), and Single Assessment Numeric Evaluation (SANE) scores. Followup for shoulder outcome measures averaged 17.4 (range, 4.1-34) and 20.8 months (range, 7.3-34.9) for the study and control groups, respectively. Results All scores were higher in primary RSA than in revision RSA (PENN score, 79.5 versus 57.1; ASES score, 81.4 versus 56.3; SANE score, 73.8% versus 48.8%), and ROM was better (122.7 versus 83.75). Both groups experienced increases in active forward flexion. Ten of the 28 study RSAs (35.7%) versus five of the 28 control RSAs (17.8%) had complications. No patient-specific factors other than reason for surgery correlated with scores. Conclusions Revision RSA is associated with lower function compared with primary RSA. However, we believe it a reasonable alternative and patients undergoing RSA for revision arthroplasty can expect improvements in function and shoulder scores to a mean of 50% of normal shoulders but must also accept a high complication rate. Level of Evidence Level III, therapeutic study. See the Guidelines for Authors for a complete description of levels of evidence.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2531-2537
Number of pages7
JournalClinical orthopaedics and related research
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 2011


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